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This Indian Couple Has Built a Platform Exclusively for Finance Professionals The uniqueness of the idea has helped them gain immense traction and clock INR 3 million in revenues, that too from a 'work from home' setup.

By Baishali Mukherjee

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On an average only 20-30% of CA freshers get placed through the official ICAI campus, rest, especially the ones who are not glib talkers get knocked out in GDs and go through a long search for a suitable career path. On average around 18.64% students secure jobs through the ICAI Campus Placement. Also in the lateral hiring space, there is no firm in the country which specializes in finance. This gap was identified by a Kolkata based husband-wife duo, Anurag and Sonia Singal, who built a recruitment platform, cajobportal.com, in August 2013 exclusively for finance professionals. The uniqueness of the idea has helped them gain immense traction and clock INR 3 million in revenues, that too from a 'work from home' setup.

The genesis

cajobportal.com, a fledgling start-up in the recruitment industry, has bootstrapped its way since last four years. Talking about the inception of the venture, Sonia says, "Anurag discovered the gap between candidates and finance job vacancies while he taught CA students for ICAI at GMCS classes. During our interaction with CA freshers, we realized that just a fraction of them could ace jobs in the competitive ICAI's campus placement process; even the conventional consultants had no specific focus on this space. This led to the genesis of the portal, initially as a CSR model."

Framing the business model

While the couple was at IIM Ahmedabad campus in April 2014 for Anurag's MBA course, they realised that a CSR mode was not sustainable, as it was replicable and could get lost in the overcrowded recruitment space. "There were no entry barriers and users perceived little difference amongst the various portals. We were encouraged by the IIM faculty and senior CA professionals to convert our blog into a full- fledged recruitment portal. Hence, we decided to go commercial. Senior Chartered Accountants and IIMA alums including the co-founder and former COO of naukri.com, agreed to join our Advisory Board," informed Anurag.

The Singals then approached corporate houses for B2B tie-ups, bundling the value proposition of an online platform and offline search consultant, hitherto regarded as just a postman of CVs. "When it comes to recruitment of Finance Human Capital, notwithstanding the abundance of job-seekers, the "right fitment' is often a key challenge," adds Sonia a CA, CFA and MS (Finance), who has worked for more than 2 years at Deloitte, Hyderabad before taking over as head-operations of cajobportal.com.

The unique team

Today, a qualified woman professional need not sacrifice her hard earned skillsets in order to find better work-life balance. This reality emphatically established at cajobportal.com, where the team includes 5 women who operate under 'Work from Home' arrangement. The entire team works on a collaborative work space, enabling real-time monitoring and seamless integration of efforts.

"As Anurag has a full time job and is not directly involved with the running of the portal I look after the operations working from home. My entire team works from their homes in different cities and I haven't even met most of them. Sometimes when I am on a call with my clients and my daughter calls out for me, of course, they hear her voice and ask me, "Are you working from home or have you brought your daughter to work?' It leaves them wondering because they never realized a stay-at-home-mom was running the organization," informs a confident working from home and making it big woman entrepreneur.

Challenges faced

Most job portals offer internet resume databases and job postings for free/ nominal fee. This results in clients trying to close positions themselves and thus you cannot expect a client to pay for any "low-hanging fruits'. Besides it becomes quite difficult to source hi-profile candidates as they are often retained by existing employer, who matches the hike offered by our clients. Competition from well entrenched recruitment consultants, who also resort to unethical practices to secure business is another challenge," informs Sonia.

The growth

cajobportal.com, today is trusted by more than 100 brands spanning India, Singapore, Middle East and Africa. In the last 18 months, the company has clocked aggregate Billable CTC of INR 10 crores+ across clients (average CTC ranging from Rs 5 lakh p.a. to Rs 40 lakh p.a.). For 2016, they have clocked website traffic of 100,000+ Users generating 1 mn+ page views (Source- Google Analytics).

Wind beneath your wings!

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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